Man on the Street Interviews

Is there a greater indicator of journalistic desperation than the man on the street interview? Yesterday I was watching coverage of the awful shooting at Dawson College, and the CBC visited local universities to get BC students’ perspectives on the tragedy.

Why would I care what a UBC student thinks? I come to the media for information, analysis and educated opinion. I want to hear from newsmakers, eye witnesses and experts–not average Joes or Jills. If the average Joe is, in fact, an expert in the news story, then bring them into the studio and interview them properly.

The worst perpetrators of these interviews are sports shows. I imagine that this is because the actual facts related to a news event are few and far between (player x traded for player y, end of story) and they need to pad out their segments.

The man on the street schtick has been rendered more moot by the blogosphere. If I want to hear from average Canadians (and sometimes I do), then there are literally millions of opinions to read. I can visit a blog in Nunavut or Regina or Montreal (as I did yesterday).

Written by

Darren Barefoot is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He’s the co-founder of Capulet Communications, and co-author of “Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook”.


  1. I also doubt the veracity of your comments. You obviously are not aware of the Picton trial and the disappearance of close to sixty young woman in the downtown east side. And to take it out to the rest of the country, Edmonton has its own disappearing women saga going on, as well as the ongoing gang warfare in Winnipeg and the continuing gun violence in Toronto and the biker war in Montreal.
    Being as you are also a resident of Vancouver perhaps
    we could meet face to face and share some conversation and a cup of coffee, or are you only a “drive by” commenter, ha ha

  2. JWL: I don’t think this has anything to do with my posting about man on the street interviews.

    I’m perplexed as to why you’re continuing our conversation here, when it was going fine on your own blog.

    Why have you posted here instead in our original comment thread?

    I guess we can continue the conversation here, if you prefer, but I think it makes more sense in its original context.

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